The firebrand Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has lashed out at the United States and Australia after launching an appeal against a conviction for funding terrorism, for which he was jailed earlier this year.
The 73-year-old, who was jailed in June for funding a terrorist camp in Aceh, had his sentence cut last month from 15 years to nine after the High Court ruled he was guilty of a lesser offence and should also be shown leniency because of his age.
His legal team filed another appeal this week with the Supreme Court, to have his conviction quashed altogether.
The former spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, the group responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings, has now accused foreign powers such as the US and Australia of continuing to wage a campaign against Islam in Indonesia.
''Yesterday when we met him ... he said foreign powers were trying to damage Islam,'' his lawyer Achmad Michdan said yesterday.
''He said it was clear the US is not defending the interest of human rights and instead they're making it difficult. There's hostility in the US toward Islam.''
A spokesman for Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, the group which the court claimed Bashir had used as a front to fund the Aceh cell, said the cleric remained defiant when he met him on Sunday before the latest appeal was filed on Tuesday.
The so-called spiritual leader of militant Islam in Indonesia served almost 26 months for conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, before being freed in 2006 and subsequently cleared of any involvement.